Bears dealing with current players first

Reed Schreck

Gimme. Gimme. Gimme. Gimme.

That’s what Chicago Bears General Manager Jerry Angelo is putting up with these days leading up to this weekend’s NFL Draft. While he’s wondering what new players he’ll have to deal with by the end of the weekend, considerable focus remains on remaining players.

Those uttering “gimme” in unison and holding out their hands are Brian Urlacher, Tommie Harris, Devin Hester and Robbie Gould. They have contracts, but they want more money, more years, more of anything they can get.

Which doesn’t make the Bears different from any other NFL, or pro, team.

Some of those four Bears, or all, might be accommodated, Angelo said on Tuesday at Halas Hall. The purpose of the news conference was to discuss the upcoming draft, yet half the questions pertained to issues other than which offensive tackle they want to land in the first round.

(That answer never was revealed, as they were careful not to mention names. All teams play the predraft game the same, though).

Urlacher reportedly has been offered an $18 million extension, with $5 million guaranteed. Take it, and get your rear end — and sore neck — into the current voluntary camp.

Harris’ case rivals Urlacher’s. He, too, is one of the league’s best at his position. He, too, has health considerations. His contract should be adjusted, projecting that he will remain productive.

Hester, what can you say? No one does what he does better. But the team does not have to do anything with him this early. They could wait until next offseason. Wait and see how much he improves as a receiver. We all have a fair idea of his return abilities.

Gould, there’s no decision to make. Pay the man. Kickers come and go, yeah, but once an outdoor-stadium team finds someone reliable, keep him happy and around.

“We want to reward our own players,” Angelo said.


“We’ll do what we’ve always done — not negotiate through the media.”

Oh, go ahead. In fact, we encourage it.

Angelo said the team has a “good track record” for taking care of its own.

“But there’s going to be times we’re not accommodating.”

This, he said, is how NFL business is done, that no one has a “crystal ball” on free agency or salary caps.

Part of the objective is to foster a happy family atmosphere, like a family at home desires.

“We have 53 kids,” he calls them.

He likes them all so much, he said, he “does not anticipate” trading any of them. He said he’s had no trade discussions with other teams.

He talks about how “ridiculous” it would be to have everyone on a one-year contract, even though it has merit.

What all this means is that Angelo can’t just sit back and wait for Saturday’s War Room deliberations and decisions. The Bears’ hierarchy apparently has its draft board fairly set, anticipating that three or four players they covet will be there when the choose 14th.

Angelo said there probably are “10 special players” in the draft. The Bears, remember, pick 14th.

“We’re comfortable with three,” Angelo said. “We’d like to get the number up to four or five. The more the numbers, it gives you more latitude to do other things like trading down.”

Don’t be surprised. The Bears did little in free agency other than sign fringe receivers Marty Booker and Brandon Lloyd.

There are more needs than draft picks.

“We were 7-9 last year, so that makes us a 7-9 team,” head coach Lovie Smith said.

“So we’ll look at all positions” in the draft.

“Because we didn’t do as much in free agency,” Angelo said, “that puts us in draft mode.”

Suggestion? Angelo should put aside the gimme guys at least through the weekend.

His attention is needed elsewhere, for him this draft is too crucial to be distracted.

Reed Schreck can be reached at (815) 987-1381 or